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Seventeenth Century

Eighteenth Century



Master of the Female Half-Length. St. Catherine. 1530.
Master of the Female Half-Length. St. Catherine, 1530.
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan.

Poems from 'Agaynste a Comely Coystrowne' and 'Dyuers Balettys and Dyties Solacyous'
By John Skelton

KNOLEDGE, acquayntance, resort, fauour with grace ;
     Delyte, desyre, respyte wyth lyberte ;
Corage wyth lust, conuenient tyme and space ;
     Dysdayns, dystres, exylyd cruelte ;
     Wordys well set with good habylyte ;
Demure demenaunce, womanly of porte ;
Transendyng plesure, surmountyng all dysporte ;

Allectuary arrectyd to redres
     These feuerous axys, the dedely wo and payne
Of thoughtfull hertys plungyd in dystres ;
     Refresshyng myndys the Aprell shoure of rayne ;
     Condute of comforte, and well most souerayne ;
Herber enverduryd, contynuall fressh and grene ;
Of lusty somer the passyng goodly quene ;

The topas rych and precyouse in vertew ;
     Your ruddys wyth ruddy rubys may compare ;
Saphyre of sadnes, enuayned wyth indy blew ;
     The pullyshed perle youre whytenes doth declare ;
     Dyamand poyntyd to rase oute hartly care ;
Geyne surfetous suspecte the emeraud commendable ;
Relucent smaragd, obiecte imcomperable ;

Encleryd myrroure and perspectyue most bryght,
     Illumynyd wyth feturys far passyng my reporte ;
Radyent Esperus, star of the clowdy nyght,
     Lode star to lyght these louers to theyr porte,
     Gayne dangerous stormys theyr anker of supporte,
Theyr sayll of solace most comfortably clad,
Whych to behold makyth heuy hartys glad :

Remorse haue I of youre most goodlyhod,
     Of youre behauoure curtes and benynge,
Of your bownte and of youre womanhod,
     Which makyth my hart oft to lepe and sprynge,
     And to remember many a praty thynge ;
But absens, alas, wyth tremelyng fere and drede
Abashyth me, albeit I haue no nede.

You I assure, absens is my fo,
     My dedely wo, my paynfull heuynes ;
And if ye lyst to know the cause why so,
     Open myne hart, beholde my mynde expres :
     I wold ye coud ! then shuld ye se, mastres,
How there nys thynge that I couet so fayne
As to enbrace you in myne armys twayne.

Nothynge yerthly to me more desyrous
     Than to beholde youre bewteouse countenaunce :
But, hatefull absens, to me so enuyous,
     Though thou withdraw me from her by long dystaunce,
     Yet shall she neuer oute of remembraunce ;
For I haue grauyd her wythin the secret wall
Of my trew hart, to loue her best of all !
Qd Skelton, laureat.

Skelton, John. The Poetical Works of John Skelton. Vol. I.
Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1866. 31-33.

Back to Works of John Skelton

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Created by Anniina Jokinen on January 11, 2001. Last updated February 1, 2019.


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Renaissance English Writers
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Field of the Cloth of Gold, 1520
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Elizabethan Theatre
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English Renaissance Drama

Images of London:
London in the time of Henry VII. MS. Roy. 16 F. ii.
London, 1510, the earliest view in print
Map of England from Saxton's Descriptio Angliae, 1579
Location Map of Elizabethan London
Plan of the Bankside, Southwark, in Shakespeare's time
Detail of Norden's Map of the Bankside, 1593
Bull and Bear Baiting Rings from the Agas Map (1569-1590, pub. 1631)
Sketch of the Swan Theatre, c. 1596
Westminster in the Seventeenth Century, by Hollar
Visscher's Panoramic View of London, 1616. COLOR

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